Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu has said that the state’s border dispute with Assam is likely to be resolved by the end of November. Khandu held a meeting with a high-level delegation from Assam including Border Protection and Development Minister Atul Bora and senior officials on Monday.
Khandu, who spoke to reporters after the meeting, said that this meeting can be called the last of the series of discussions between the two neighboring countries in the northeast to resolve the border issue. “One more meeting is for me and my Assam counterpart Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma to have a final agreement and a lasting solution. “We are both committed to resolving all our differences by the end of November,” he said.
Sarma and Khandu on July 15 signed an agreement at Namsai in Arunachal Pradesh to end border issues between the two states and decided to “limit” the number of disputed villages to 86 instead of 123. Khandu said that After the Namsai Declaration, 12 committees each headed by cabinet ministers were established by the two administrations. These committees visited the disputed areas together, gave reports to the people on both sides, and submitted their reports to the governments of their respective states.
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“Today we discussed in depth those reports in the district. I am happy that all the reports are effective and the committees of the two states have worked honestly and together to find a lasting solution to the border issue,” he said. The Chief Minister pointed out that if there is “strong political will”, no issue can remain unresolved for decades. “I must especially thank Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma for personally coming forward to resolve the border dispute not only in Arunachal Pradesh but in all other northeastern states that share borders with Assam,” Khandu said.
The two regions share a border of 804.1 km. The complaint of Arunachal Pradesh, which was made a union territory in 1972, is that several tracts of plain forests that traditionally belonged to the chiefs of the hill tribes and communities were unilaterally transferred to Assam. After Arunachal Pradesh achieved statehood in 1987, a tripartite committee was appointed which recommended that certain lands be transferred from Assam to Arunachal. Assam contested this and the matter is in the Supreme Court.